I cannot believe we have been home for one month today. It was a trip of a lifetime, being able to take Ben, see so much more of China and bring home our sweet Joey. It was also exceedingly hard and already seems so long ago. I am loving reliving our homecoming with these amazing pictures taken by our dear friend Sara. Sara, we'll never be able to thank you enough for capturing these tender moments for us.
So much of the trip was about Joey and getting to know him. There was also a lot of focus on Ben. He stepped out of his comfort zone in a big way to go with us and he played such an important role in helping Joey feel comfortable and happy with us.
These pictures are a reminder for me of what a big deal those 16 days were for my other babies too. Allie was a rock star while we were gone. She was sweet and helpful and she couldn't wait for us to get home. I'm so proud of how she handled everything. Her motherly instincts have been a comfort to him and a help to us with Joey and allows her to feel like the helper that she is!
Maggie didn't quite understand everything and was pretty overwhelmed when we got home.
What a big deal for a 3 year old to be a part of! But she loves that Joey is from "my China" (as she calls it) and loves being reminded of her homecoming as well. And she couldn't wait to jump in Ben's arms, they are two peas in a pod.
I felt the worst for Sam knowing how badly he had wanted to go with us and how much we just hate that darn egg allergy. He remembers both his sisters coming home. He remembers "feeling shy" of me and Jeremy when we got home from China with Maggie. This time I made him promise to run to me for a giant hug as soon as we got back. He kept his promise and looking at his sweet face in these pictures as he spotted us coming down the hall absolutely melts my heart.
Adjusting to being a family of 7 this past month has had its ups and downs. The easiest part by far is how Joey fits in our family. He just fits; it feels natural. He is literally the most laid-back, easy-going person I have ever met. He smiles all the time, never complains, cleans up after himself and goes with the flow. We hit the jackpot! All the kids love him and they've all been very patient with him as he needs extra help and more of our time right now. He and Allie in particular are very good buddies and I think he and Ben will always have a special bond thanks to our time in China.
That being said, it's not all rainbows and sunshine. There's 2 adults to 5 fairly young kiddos. We're spread thin and everyone has felt a bit fragile around here. We've had some regression, lots of extra neediness and some flat-out meltdowns over the change to our lives. We've had a million appointments (most for Joey, but our other kids have things too) and just lots to juggle, adjust to and figure out. I'm so grateful to the friends and family who text, call and message me to make sure I'm keeping my head above water!
Despite the hard stuff, we have zero regrets. I truly believe if we had said "no" to adoption and lived our lives in the fear of "what if", we would be the ones missing out on the spectacular family that we have built. We're so proud of our kids for their open, growing hearts.
We had an amazing reception at the airport when we got home. After our flight from Hong Kong being delay an entire day, our final flight home from Newark landed 30 minutes early! Whoo-hooo!!! Being on American soil and coming home to our family and friends was truly the biggest relief of my life. What a celebration and very, very precious moments!
Here we come! I had to resist dragging Joey down the hall to get to my other kids. :)
Joey took it all in. I think he knew all the fuss was for him. Welcome home, sweet boy.